Review Article| Volume 26, ISSUE 2, P505-513, June 2006

Immunologic Aspects of Select Agents

      It is clear that conventional vaccination will not be effective for bioterrorism agents. For one thing, there are too many of them, and intelligence is insufficient to make educated guesses as to which organisms are likely to be used in an attack. Second, the conventional method of growing the organism (if it can be grown in culture), isolating likely antigens, and testing them in animal models is too lengthy and involved to be of immediate use. Additionally, some agents, such as the H5N1 avian influenza, may be lethal to chicken embryos [
      • Takada A.
      • Kuboki N.
      • Okazaki K.
      • et al.
      Avirulent avian influenza virus as a vaccine strain against a potential human pandemic.
      ], which makes conventional vaccine manufacture impossible. The use of attenuated organisms as vaccines is fraught with many of the problems mentioned above, as well as the fact that shedding [
      • Jones S.M.
      • Feldmann H.
      • Stroher U.
      • et al.
      Live attenuated recombinant vaccine protects nonhuman primates against Ebola and Marburg viruses.
      ] of attenuated, infectious organisms places our immunosuppressed populace at risk. Because treatments are limited, especially for hemorrhagic fever viruses, for example (Table 1), the development of pre-exposure treatments is essential. Because current vaccine strategies are not sufficient to address the problems, a new approach is needed.
      Table 1Indications for ribavirin
      Virus name Indication
      Filovirus No
      Rift Valley No
      CCHF Yes
      Lassa Yes
      Abbreviation: CCHF, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever.
      Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention available at:
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